Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In



Unsent: 100 Free Replacement Route Names

Get full access to Outside Learn, our online education hub featuring in-depth fitness, nutrition, and adventure courses and more than 2,000 instructional videos when you sign up for Outside+ Sign up for Outside+ today.


Developers in Ten Sleep, as well as other areas, recently made the decision to change climbing route names that could make groups of people feel unwelcome or uncomfortable. That’s great. As a community, we should work to make our sport more inclusive. There are still plenty of unfortunate route names out there, so there’s a lot more work to be done.

For those who aren’t familiar, here’s some background on how climbing routes are named: One day someone climbs a route and then makes up the name, and then we call it that. That’s it. El Capitan sat there for 220 million years before someone pointed to the prow and said, “That’s the Nose” and then everyone was like, “Yeah, totally. The Nose.” So, maybe route names aren’t all that important, and we shouldn’t be precious about them for reasons that so often hold back the human race, like “tradition” and “preserving history.”

If, say, the Old Faithful geyser in Yellowstone had been called “Mom **** **** *** **** **** ****er,” most people would agree that we should change the name. It’s in a national park, it belongs to all of us. Everyone should be able to enjoy it. The vast majority of climbs in the US are located on public land, so let’s hold ourselves to the same standard.

If you’re a first ascensionist who has named a route something regrettable in the past, you have the opportunity to do the right thing. Consider changing it to one of the names below. If you’re a first ascensionist, and you’re considering a name for your new line that is racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, crass, or anything else that would make people feel uncomfortable or unwelcome, use one of the names below instead. These 100 route names are provided free of charge to anyone who needs them.

  1. The Direct Route—It’s worked for plenty of other routes
  2. The Indirect Route—Actually has not been used before, according to a Mountain Project search
  3. Route #62,485–I don’t know how many routes exist to date, but yours could be the 62,485th
  4. The Nose—People all have noses, why not all cliffs?
  5. Carl—It’s worked for plenty of people named Carl
  6. Pizza—For a delightful route that everyone will enjoy
  7. The Crimplympics
  8. Lightening Bolts—Maybe this a route that was retrobolted, so the bolts make you feel lighter when you climb it now
  9. Ledgend—For a great route that ends on a ledge
  10. Cam Pain Campaign—A sharp finger crack
  11. Tricameral Legislature—Some Gunks route, probably
  12. Stopper and Go—A route with a big runout above a stopper
  13. Carabinaribbean Cruise—It’s stupid, but you can use it. Why not?
  14. Harness the Power—You know, because climbers wear harnesses. Usually.
  15. Rack or Roll—For a low-angle trad route. Bring the rack or…
  16. Not My Problem—For when someone else let’s you name their boulder problem
  17. Picnic Pleaser—This is the name of a sandwich I like at the local bagel shop. It could also make a good route name, whether or not you’re referencing the sandwich
  18. Janice—It’s worked for plenty of people named Janice
  19. Ornithopter—It suggests that it’s going to make you flap your wings, and it’s fun to say
  20. Intersloper—For a route with a sloper right where you don’t want it
  21. Careless Whipper
  22. Wham!—A highball, while we’re on the George Michael theme
  23. Crater Lake—Also a highball
  24. ?—Just to be clear, it’s not called “Head Explode Emoji,” it’s called “?”
  25. Jasper—This is my dog’s name, and I love him. I’d be stoked if you named your route after my dog
  26. Fallafel—It’s barely a pun, but it is
  27. Curtain Call—For an ice route with a curtain feature
  28. The Nose 2: The Nose’s Revenge—Why aren’t route sequels a thing

  29. Electronics—I used a random word generator for this and the next 9 names

  30. Produce

  31. Roar

  32. Major

  33. Overcharge

  34. Cellar—A cave boulder problem, probably

  35. Earthwax—Not sure what this is, but it does sound neat

  36. Drawer—A great option for a sport route at a mostly trad area

  37. Breathe—Kind of intimidating. Maybe like a hard, runout route

  38. Auditor—Also kind of intimidating, like it’ll audit your ability on that style of climbing

  39. Roll With the Punches—I used a random phrase generator for this and the next 9 names

  40. Up in Arms

  41. High and Dry

  42. Out on a Limb

  43. Head Over Heels

  44. Love Birds

  45. In the Red—For a route at the Red

  46. Not All It’s Cracked Up To Be

  47. Wake Up Call

  48. Tug of War

  49. The Nose 3: Back in Time

  50. Scarlett—It’s clever if the route has pin scars

  51. Jamthony—Jams + Anthony

  52. Crimpstina—Crimps + Christina

  53. Crimpstopher—Crimps + Christopher

  54. Kneebarbara—I don’t need to explain this

  55. The Green Route—Maybe for a route with a lot of lichen or moss

  56. Gray Night—For a granite route

  57. Lemons and Limestone—For a limestone route

  58. A Line in the Sand—Some Indian Creek route

  59. Head in the Sand—Some Indian Creek offwidth

  60. Basalt and Pepper—For a basalt route

  61. Quartz Conglomerate Incorporated Inc.—For a quartz conglomerate route

  62. The Nose 4: Rise of the Space Captain

  63. Clean Slate—For a difficult friction slab

  64. Side Splitter—For a corner crack

  65. Cornered—For a corner

  66. Corner Store—For a corner

  67. Coroner Corner—For a hard/scary corner

  68. Two Fists to Freedom—A route with a sustained fist stack offwidth

  69. Super Spicy Chicken Wings—A poorly protected offwidth

  70. Knot Checker—For a route that’s difficult to onsight

  71. Plunger—Another route that’s difficult to onsight

  72. The Decline—A slab

  73. Frosted Flake—Probably a mixed route, with ice and a flake

  74. The Nose 5: Back to School

  75. $


  77. Cool Route

  78. The Good Time Climb

  79. Frank—It’s worked for plenty of people named Frank

  80. Potato Stranger—The names don’t have to make sense. You can just put two random nouns together

  81. Hedgehog Defibrillator

  82. Rubberband Houseplant

  83. Flashlight Conch

  84. Bird Boardgame—Alliteration is fun, too

  85. Cabbage Cactus

  86. Shadow Chef

  87. Helicopter Helper

  88. Lamplight Lemon

  89. The Aardvark—Anything with “the” sounds mysterious

  90. The Bookstore

  91. The Submarine

  92. Armoire—Some words sound cool on their own

  93. Timpani

  94. Coriander

  95. The Economics of Clouds—You can also make up phrases that sound poignant, but don’t mean anything

  96. Destiny’s Shipping Route

  97. If—That sounds thought-provoking on its own!

  98. Pumpernickel—That has “pump” in it, which is a climbing term

  99. Ftorpliprioprity—That’s a word I made up. 100 route names was ambitious, and now it’s after 7 and I want to stop working. You can do that, though—make up words

  100. The Nose Sit

As you can see, route names don’t have to be good or make sense. They only need to identify a section of rock, so we have a shared understanding of which section of rock we’re all talking about. If you can’t do that without offending or harming others, just choose one of the names above instead.

Read more Unsent.